Big Bash: Joe Root and Jos Buttler agree Sydney Thunder stint

Joe Root looks on after playing a shot towards square leg during a T20 match
Joe Root has played only 12 T20 matches in the past two years

England Test captain Joe Root and vice-captain Jos Buttler will play for Sydney Thunder in this winter's Twenty20 Big Bash League in Australia.

Root has not played in an overseas T20 competition before and the 27-year-old went unsold in the Indian Premier League auction in January.

Buttler, also 27, played six times for the Thunder in 2017-18 and previously played for Melbourne Renegades.

The 2018-19 Big Bash runs from 18 December to 17 February.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has cleared Root and Buttler to play in the first half of the tournament as it falls between winter tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies.

Root has played only 12 T20 matches since England's defeat by West Indies in the World Twenty20 final in April 2016, with eight for his country and four for Yorkshire.

He was rested for the T20 tri-series against Australia and New Zealand earlier this year and dropped for the deciding T20 against India in July.

The next men's World T20 tournament will take place in Australia in 2020.

Buttler has had two stints in the Big Bash, first featuring for the Renegades in 2013-14, when he played five games with a top score of 61.

He opened and kept wicket for the Thunder last season, hitting 67 and 81 during a six-game run before leaving to join up with England's one-day international squad.

There are no England fixtures in any format in December, with the third and final Test against Sri Lanka set to end on 27 November.

England will tour West Indies for three Tests, five ODIs and a T20 from January to March.

The schedule has yet to be announced but this gap in international commitments could allow Root and Buttler to play up to seven matches for the Thunder in the first half of the Big Bash.

The Thunder are captained by Shane Watson and coached by former New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond, who worked as a bowling consultant for England during last winter's Ashes.